Enhancing Bilinguist Skills in Children

Posted: November 30th, 2013

Student Name: Teresh Forde

Student Identification Number: AC1200975

Course Number and Title: EC320- Child Development

Assignment Number and Title: Assignment #

Date of Submission:


Enhancing Bilinguist Skills in Children

We were all children at one point. As children, we loved getting dirty, but that dirt was highly educational. Every child has a different perception of everything around him or her and these different things the child notices around enable them to distinguish between those objects. Cognitive development gives a broad picture of what goes on in the mind of a child since it refers to the construction of the various processes in a child’s seat of thought and memory that include recalling, problem solving, and decision-making as the child grows from childhood to adulthood.


According to an article by the National Association for Education of Young Children, cognition and literacy development go hand in hand to a child, as there is a symbolic representation of objects, which is enhanced through communication between the parent and the child, therefore a parent develops the child’s cognitive abilities and literature by incorporating:


  • Emblematic illustration experiences through drawing and painting
  • Testing with writing through invented spelling
  • Direct experience of interest through playing, field trips, entertainment such as television
  • A rich oral language environment, by promoting conversations the child can understand and providing vocabulary information as requested by the child
  • Encouraging eye contact between the parent and child
  • Teaching methods that employ the use of songs, poems or stories that contain rhyme, repetition, pattern and rhythm
  • Offering recurrent story time for the child


Jean Piaget, a philosopher known for his adept works in child development, derived the theory of cognitive development. He claims that language and living beings are dependent of cognitive development. In his article, Life As A Bilingual, the psychologist Francis Grosjean, discusses the development of strategies to enable children acquire bilingual skills. In his article, he states that most children naturally become bilingual, however it is best to formulate comprehensive plans that will aid a child in achieving fluency in different languages.


For a parent or a guardian seeking to ensure that their child becomes proficient in multi linguist attributes before schooling, there are strategies put together to enable a child expand on their language skills. These strategies aid the child in fostering their languages knowingly overtime and act as appropriate teaching methods to be used by the child’s parent at home. Some of the methods used incorporate:




One Person One-Language Strategy

As described by Grosjean, the One Person One Language Strategy is the most common methods used for children. In this method, he describes that the child becomes bilingual because each of his or her parents speaks his or her language exclusively to the child. The approach has many advantages to it, one of which the parent can use their dominant language with the child. On the other hand, a disadvantage of the One Person One Language Strategy is that the minority language, may suffer due to the child’s constant interaction with the stronger, domineering language.


Minority Language Strategy

The Minority Language Strategy employs the use of the language spoken indoors, or in a family setting. It is also advantageous to a child developing bilingual skills, as it helps the child learn the minority language which is the one extensively used by the parent and other family members. The other language, usually denoted as the Majority Language, is acquired when the child goes outside the home. It is a flourishing strategy, however disadvantageous to the parent as he or she is supposed to adjust to speaking the other language.


Home Language Strategy

The third strategy is a modification of the second one as it also employs the use of the language spoken at home. The only difference between the two strategies is that the Home Language Strategy advocates for the use of the language spoken indoors inside and outside the home and then at the age of four or five years, the other language should be brought. It is an effective strategy as it enables the child to familiarize with his or her family, as well as the culture and at the same time (when the child is older) socialize with other people.


It should be noted that there are also negative aspects involved in developing the bilingual and literature skills of the child. They include dismal performance in the weaker language, communication problems, culture shock and cultural loss on the part of the child. Thus, it is necessary to take cautions such as encouraging social interactions between the child and his or her playmates, use of revised and credible literature material, observing moral and ethical standards when using entertainment media.














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